Adaptive Clothing Ideas For Cerebral Palsy

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®

Getting dressed is a challenge for those with cerebral palsy because their hand movements are affected by their condition. But with adaptive clothing, dressing up easier is now possible despite one’s physical limitations. Read on to discover adaptive clothing ideas for cerebral palsy that you might find helpful.

Adaptive Clothing Cerebral Palsy

Getting dressed is a challenge for those with cerebral palsy because their hand movements are affected by their condition. But with adaptive clothing, dressing up easier is now possible despite one’s physical limitations. Read on to discover adaptive clothing ideas for cerebral palsy that you might find helpful.

Income Disclosure: I recommend products based on my personal experience working with seniors.
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Adaptive clothing is items that are designed specifically for adults and children with illnesses or disabilities.

This could mean one-handed zippers for shoes, replacing a zipper or a button with a magnetic closure, or footwear and clothing designs that allow the person to get dressed while they are seated.

How Can Cerebral Palsy Affect A Person’s Ability To Get Dressed?

Cerebral palsy is one of the motor disabilities that often affect movements in the hands and throughout the body. When the condition is affecting the hands, it becomes a challenge for the person to perform daily tasks such as getting dressed, using cutlery, or even writing. 

When cerebral palsy affects the person’s hands, they will often struggle with various functions, including releasing, gripping, speed, accuracy, and pointing.

This is why people with cerebral palsy-related hand impairments often find it very difficult to deal with everyday tasks such as getting dressed, picking up an object, brushing teeth, or anything else that involves their hands.

adaptive clothing cerebral palsy types clothing
Some cerebral palsy patients are bound to their wheelchairs, which is one thing to consider when it comes to their comfort.

What Types Of Adaptive Clothing Are Helpful For People With Cerebral Palsy?

Getting dressed in a hassle-free manner is something that most people don’t even think about. But for people with a disability, they often deal with unique challenges when it comes to shoes and clothing.

Fortunately, many of these challenges can now be mitigated due to a few measures that many shoe and clothing companies have taken.

Perhaps more significantly, there are many types of adaptive clothing that offer a level of individuality that was previously unavailable since some of these adaptations now allow people with certain disabilities to get dressed on their own more easily or make it easier for their caregivers to dress them.

One of the main examples of these adaptations would be a button-up shirt. People with disabilities often do not have the dexterity when it comes to moving the buttons into place.

With the assistance of magnets, people who lack this type of dexterity which includes individuals with cerebral palsy, no longer need to struggle with limitations in clothing choices.

Shirts and other items of clothing with magnetic machine-washable “buttons” are much easier to use when compared to traditional closures such as buttons. 

Some people with cerebral palsy use wheelchairs during the day, and this also presents additional hurdles when working out what to wear so that clothing provides comfort. Fortunately there are many choices of adaptive clothes specifically for wheelchair users.

IZ is one of the companies that specialize in adaptive clothing. Similar to other types of special needs clothes, these items include easy access with wrap waist pants and jeans or jackets and t-shirts that close or open from the back.

IZ clothing has also produced a range that is styled, angled, and cut to fit people in a seated position. They also use fabric that is made to sustain stretching, which offers a much better experience when taking it off and putting it on. 

How Can Adaptive Clothing Help Caregivers Of Adults With Cerebral Palsy?

While most caregivers face different day-to-day challenges, a universal strain seems to remain, and that involves the struggles of dressing a patient or loved one that is no longer able to dress themselves.

But many of these challenges are now being solved by several retailers and designers that now offer exclusive items of clothing that goes by the name of “adaptive wear.”

These items range from easy-on belts and shoes to stylish pajamas. In previous years, adaptive clothing meant 1 of 2 things. Which was either completely customized (which also meant very expensive) or institutional.

The fashion industry is swiftly moving past that with choices that individuals are now excited about putting on.

Adaptive clothing for disabled adults also makes it easier for caregivers that care for cerebral palsy patients to help them get dressed and undressed.

These items of clothing are also geared toward helping the person to maintain a level of independence and, more importantly, a bit more dignity when it comes to the task of getting assistance while dressing.

So whether this involves buying button-free shirts for a spouse that now has Parkinson’s disease so that they can now dress themselves independently or investing in pants or a skirt with flattened seams or openings on the side for a cerebral palsy patient who is bound to a wheelchair, today there is a wide selection of useful and attractive choices on offer.

adaptive clothing cerebral palsy where to buy
Here are some brands that have clothing for people with cerebral palsy.

Where Can You Buy Adaptive Clothing For Cerebral Palsy? 

Every year more and more popular retailers and brands are now including a range of adaptive clothing brands and retailers with creative and fashionable designs for people with disabilities that make it easier for them to get dressed. 

Here is a list of some of the brands that design and produce clothing for people that have disabilities like cerebral palsy:

Ovidis

Use code GWG10 to save 10% off regular prices.

Ovidis is a specialty manufacturer of clothing for people with physical or cognitive difficulties. They offer unique and innovative designs for easy and stress-free dressing by older adults, the disabled, or their caregivers.

Zappos

Zappos offers much more than adaptive shoes. They offer many adaptive clothing items as well from many of the popular adaptive clothing brands. Plus, they have an Advisory Council that reviews and selects the items they choose to sell.

Dignity Pajamas

Dignity Pajamas has created a nice niche in adaptive sleepwear for men and women. They offer many styles of sleep shirts, pajamas, and gowns with open backs and Velcro closures.

Amazon Adaptive Clothing

Being one of the world’s largest retailers, Amazon offers a wide selection of adaptive clothing from many of the most popular manufacturers. Another benefit to purchasing from Amazon is their easy to navigate website and generous return policies.

Etsy

Etsy is a great place to find one-of-a-kind adaptive clothing pieces that aren’t mass-marketed. Some Etsy sellers even offer custom-made items for special situations or will make special sizes for larger or smaller people.

JCPenney

JCPenney offers a decent selection of adaptive clothing made by standard clothing manufacturers like St. John’s Ba, a.n.a., and Worthington. Plus sizes are available too. 

You can also find adaptive clothing through brands dedicated specifically to the craft. A few examples include:

Tommy Hilfiger Adaptive

Perhaps a surprising addition to the list is well-known fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger who has a line of adaptive clothing for both adults and children. His shop is a great choice for the more fashion-forward person.

Seven7 Adaptive

This company focuses on creating stylish denim jeans that use adaptive technology like Velcro or elastic waistbands. Several of their styles are even wheelchair-friendly!

FAQs

How Can You Make Your Own Clothing For Cerebral Palsy? 

If you would like to make your own clothing for a loved one or spouse that has cerebral palsy, there are many ways you can create items that will make it easier for your loved one to get dressed. Some of these ideas include elastic shoelaces.

This simply involves replacing the laces on any type of shoe with elastic laces and then tying the lace to the required tightness. This will mean that your loved one won’t need to retie the laces, making it easy to slip out of or into their shoes. 

Adding Velcro to a belt also offers an easier way for a person with cerebral palsy to get dressed or to use the restroom. Another useful tool to add to your clothing designs is a button-hook and zipper-pull hook.

Zippers and buttons are often not easy for people with CP to use. The button-hook and zipper-pull hook can make it less challenging to zip up pants or a jacket or button a shirt. 

How Can You Adapt Existing Clothing To Work Better For Cerebral Palsy?

Shirts or tops with magnetic closures are an excellent adaptation for a person with cerebral palsy. Adding closures to the back of a top or shirt makes it easier for people that find it difficult to lift their arms over the head to remove items of clothing.

Replacing zippers and buttons with magnets allows for an easier way to get dressed for any person that has issues with their fine motor skills. 

Will Medicare Or Medicaid Pay for Adaptive Clothing For Cerebral Palsy?

Medicaid or Medicare won’t provide funding for adaptive apparel for conditions such as cerebral palsy.

Photo of author

Scott Grant, CSA®, ATP, CRTS®

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional
Certified Rehab Technology Supplier (CRTS®)

I have been serving seniors and the elderly for over 20 years as a medical equipment and custom wheelchair specialist for a regional medical equipment company. I am also a lucky dad to four awesome daughters and grandfather to three pretty terrific grandkids. When not helping older adult improve the quality of their lives, I enjoy early morning runs and occasional kayak trips. I am also a self-admitted nerd who loves anything from the 1980's. Learn More

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